Abi Wegner — Staff writer
The Hoyt Sandwich, invented by Grille worker Hoyt Reinalda in 2021, was originally inspired by the Grille’s classic Teriyaki Chicken Sandwich. Since then, Hoyt has worked to get the Hoyt Sandwich added to the Grille menu permanently at Dordt University.
The Hoyt Sandwich is made of teriyaki chicken, sesame garlic sauce, Defender sauce, pepper jack cheese, jalapenos, onions, shredded lettuce, and sliced tomatoes. It is typically made with a pretzel bun, but Hoyt says any type can be used, according to preference.
The Dordt football players often order the Hoyt from the Grille by special request. In addition to his job at the Grille, Hoyt is also a football manager at Dordt.
Cody Laidlaw, a linebacker, enjoys seeing Hoyt at the Grille every day, and is one of the many football players who endorses the sandwich.
“I like the Hoyt sandwich,” Laidlaw said. “If Hoyt wants it on there permanently, I’m supporting it.”
Laidlaw says he likes being able to see Hoyt all the time, whether at practice, on game day, or in the Grille. He loves to strike up conversations with Hoyt and says he just “can’t get enough of him.”
“He brings me joy, I think it brings the whole community joy seeing Hoyt, watching him do what he loves, helping out, talking,” Laidlaw said. “I think he brings everyone joy.”
Hoyt’s boss at the Grille, Nicole Rensink, described Hoyt as a good worker who loves students and enjoys striking up conversation and talking with everyone. She said it is easy to tell when a football player walks into the Grille because faces will light up and lively conversations begin.
Joel Penner, Dordt’s head football coach, says Hoyt always has a positive attitude and a deep love of football.
“The players appreciate his sense of humor and energy,” Penner said. Hoyt’s main job is to assist with setting up for practices and assist in drills when needed.
Hoyt played football back at his high school in Wisconsin. He said he has loved the game since he was four, and has loved the opportunity to help with the football team at Dordt.
“I’ve been passionate about football my whole life,” Hoyt said. “I could not ask for a better crew to work for.”
Hoyt’s bond with the players is prominent on and off the field. When the Hoyt Sandwich became a featured sub on this year’s menu, Rensink said she thought the football players were just as excited as Hoyt was. Hoyt attributes the students’ acceptance of him to the fact they can see him every day.
“You guys see me every gameday, supporting the black and gold,” Hoyt said. “[And then] you guys see me Monday through Friday working my butt off to give you guys great food every day.”
Even in trials Hoyt says the players are always there to support him. Laidlaw also said he always wants to give Hoyt support, whether that is through giving him a smile on gameday or driving him to Fareway to buy his weekly groceries.
“The guys are such a blessing to me,” Hoyt said. “They pick me up on my worst days, they come in here, even to my work, and when I see them they give me a big ol’ smile.”
Getting the Hoyt sandwich permanently on the menu is just another way for the students to show their support of Hoyt and this community’s love for him. There are rumors the Hoyt sandwich will be added to the menu permanently in fall of 2023.
Reinsink has been trying to add to the Grille’s menu and continue making new combinations for the students. Testing out new subs, such as the Hoyt sandwich, has helped pave the way to make changes for the next school year. Due to the overwhelming support of the community and players, the Hoyt sandwich has become more popular than ever, which can be attributed to the nature of Hoyt’s character.
“Hoyt is a person with a heart of gold.” Reinsink said.
When asked what his favorite part of working at the school is, Hoyt said “just the fact that I can see the students every day.”
Since moving here in 2021 and getting the job for the Grille as well as working for the team, Hoyt has integrated into the community and is thankful for it.
Photo credit: Abi Wegner